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Senate blocks Arms sales of Trump administration to Gulf states in bipartisan complaint

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Thursday to block the sale of billions of dollars of ammunition to Saudi Arabia. This was a sharp and bipartisan complaint of the Trump administration's attempt to bypass Congress in order to facilitate export by proclaiming an emergency for Iran. [19659002] In the first of three consecutive votes, Republicans joined Democrats in registering their growing fury over the government's use of emergency power to exclude legislators from national security decisions, as well as the tireless White House support for the Democrats The Saudis despite pressure from Congress to punish Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed last October, arms sales deepen the divide. It is the second time in months that members of President Trump's own party are publicly against his foreign policy. This spring, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to cut military aid for the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen with the 1

973 War Powers Act. just to veto in April.

While it is expected that the democratically controlled house will also block sales, Mr. Trump has pledged to veto the legislation and it is unlikely that any of the chambers could muster enough support to override the president's to put a veto.

"This vote is a vote in favor of this institution's ability to continue to have a say in one of the most critical elements of US foreign policy and national security," said Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. the top Democrat in the Committee on Foreign Relations and main sponsor of the Resolutions of Refusal. "So that is not undermined by a false emergency and this institutional right is respected, regardless of who is in the White House."

The White House announced its sale late last month and relied on an emergency regime for the arms export inspection bill that allows US companies to pay $ 8.1 billion worth of ammunition in 22 outstanding transfers to the three to sell to Arab nations. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are causing an aerial war in Yemen, which is being criticized by congressional and human rights organizations.

Congressmen from both parties have halted arms sales by US companies to the Persian Gulf and UAE states The attempt to end US military support for the Saudi-Arab led coalition against the Houthi rebels in the US Yemen fights, has led to the United Nations as the worst man-made humanitarian disaster in the world was able to override these stipulations.

"If we drop this declaration of urgency without protest or vote, I do not know we'll ever have the authority to oversee arms sales as a whole," said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, and one of the authors the resolution.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had pushed hard for the exemption to address the objections of the career Foreg ng service officers and lawmakers who argue with the sale would help allies like Saudi Arabia to oppose Iran and its Arab militias – though the manufacturing and delivery of some ammunition would take years.

Some Senate Republicans endorsed the government's position on Thursday. The rejection of arms sales would be too dull and would have unintended consequences at a time when tensions with Iran escalated.

The Senate will address the issue, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Majority Leader said: "Whether we will do that. Hit an imperfect partner and undercut our own efforts to build cooperation with Iran to control and reach other important goals, or to keep our imperfect partners nearby and use our influence.

But the government's argument ultimately remained unfounded even for some of the president's closest allies, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who co-legislated with Mr. Menendez.

"Although I understand that Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of Mohammed bin Salman can not be ignored," Graham said. "Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia. I am also very concerned about the precedent these arms sales would create if the administration removed legitimate Congressional concerns. "

The original legislation introduced by Mr. Menendez and Mr. Graham would have forced the senators to vote over 22 separate resolutions in disapproval of one vote for each arms sale. An agreement with Mr. McConnell reduced that figure to three – and also ensured that the Foreign Relations Committee adopted a bill sponsored by Mr. Menendez that would limit the President's ability to use the Emergency Authority to sell weapons. 19659016]
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